It’s actually happening. Night of the Living Dead is getting released on the Criterion Collection in February. This is huge news for George Romero fans and cinephiles. Every horror buff has a copy of NOTLD laying around somewhere, but nobody has a hi-def blu in their collection from one of the world’s premiere release companies. Not yet anyway.
I am super excited for this to come out. Between years of watching terrible quality versions of Night on bootleg tapes or public domain DVDs, I have spent way too many hours squinting at details or trying to decipher garbled audio. Some versions of the movie are so bad they are near unwatchable, but thankfully that won’t be the case anymore. Just check out these awesome release details:
Shot outside Pittsburgh on a shoestring budget by a band of filmmakers determined to make their mark, Night of the Living Dead, directed by horror master George A. Romero, is one of the great stories of independent cinema: a midnight hit turned box-office smash that became one of the most influential films of all time. A deceptively simple tale of a group of strangers trapped in a farmhouse who find themselves fending off a horde of recently dead, flesh-eating ghouls, Romero’s claustrophobic vision of a late-1960s America literally tearing itself apart rewrote the rules of the horror genre, combined gruesome gore with acute social commentary, and quietly broke ground by casting a black actor (Duane Jones) in its lead role. Stark, haunting, and more relevant than ever, Night of the Living Dead is back, in a new 4K restoration.
- New 4K digital restoration, supervised by director George A. Romero, coscreenwriter John A. Russo, sound engineer Gary R. Streiner, and producer Russell W. Streiner
- New restoration of the monaural soundtrack, supervised by Romero and Gary R. Streiner, and presented uncompressed on the Blu-ray
- Night of Anubis, a never-before-presented work-print edit of the film
- New program featuring filmmakers Frank Darabont, Guillermo del Toro, and Robert Rodriguez
- Never-before-seen 16 mm dailies reel
- New piece featuring Russo about the commercial and industrial-film production company where key Night of the Living Dead filmmakers got their start
- Two audio commentaries from 1994, featuring Romero, Russo, producer Karl Hardman, actor
Judith O’Dea, and more
- Archival interviews with Romero and actors Duane Jones and Judith Ridley
- New programs about the editing, the score, and directing ghouls
- New interviews with Gary R. Streiner and Russel W. Streiner
- Trailer, radio spots, and TV spots
- PLUS: An essay by critic Stuart Klawans
The blu-ray and DVD are already available for preorder and are set to be released right in time for Valentine’s Day 2018. Imagine snuggling up on the couch with a bottle of champagne and a box of chocolates while Tom and Judy try to get gas in the truck. It’s a nice thought and a great way to start off the new year with a bang. I personally can’t wait, this is deserved.